The 26,000 square miles of the Texas Panhandle have challenged law enforcement agencies from the 67 cities and 26 counties that police the region as officers from one jurisdiction often encountered individuals wanted by another jurisdiction without knowing it. Now with the help of Recovery Act and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding, law enforcement agencies are building a regional data sharing initiative that officials see as having the potential for improving cross-agency communication, officer safety and efficiency in dispatcher operations.
“Even though we’re all in the Texas Panhandle, we’re all individual jurisdictions and we didn’t have a common platform where we shared local information other than meetings or by teletype, through dispatch centers, those kinds of things,” said Randall County Sheriff Joel Richardson. “If we were looking for a particular group of thieves or a particular stolen item, the information was very very scattered and, quite frankly, very inefficient.”
Installation of the Panhandle Regional Information and Data Exchange (PRIDE) program began in September 2010 and the data hub went live in March 2011 with some testing ongoing.